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Auto accidents due to marijuana use may result in injuries

As marijuana becomes legal in some states, it's likely that you'll hear more about its virtues or dangers. This report discusses a study that has found a rise in fatal crashes related to the drug's use. The cases have been linked to auto accidents around the U.S., so with marijuana being legal in Colorado, you may want to think about how it could affect you.

In one case in Washington where marijuana is also legal, a woman was blamed for an accident due to driving under the influence of marijuana. The five-car crash resulted in 12 people being injured, but they are not the most unlucky of all the victims of dangerous driving. A study by Columbus University has found that the number of fatal crashes related to the use of marijuana has tripled between the years of 2000 and 2010, raising some concerns about the legalization of the drug.

The researchers with Columbia took part in toxicological investigations that looked into close to 24,000 motor vehicle fatalities. It was found that around 12 percent of those crashes had something to do with the use of marijuana, although the study was not completely clear how the marijuana had influenced the outcome of the crashes.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also done research and found in a 2010 survey that one in eight high school seniors had admitted to driving after smoking marijuana. Federal data backed those findings, showing that close to half of the drivers who were fatally injured in a crash and who tested positive for marijuana use were under the age of 25. Separate studies also showed that the drug can impair a person's driving abilities while also lowering his IQ.

Source: MSN Autos, "Study: Rise in fatal crashes linked to pot use" Paul Eisenstein, Jun. 10, 2014

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